The 14 Vietnam War-era veterans who make up the Panhandle’s 13th Veterans Memorial Flight to Washington, DC, fly from Denver International Airport to Baltimore-Washington International today.
The group drove yesterday from Chadron to a motel near the Denver airport, then spent the night.
They’ll return Sunday and drive back north the same day.
A number of Chadron residents, many with small flags, lined the streets on the veterans’ route out of town and Hwy 385 in Alliance was also lined by flags as the caravan passed by.
A flag line along 1st Avenue in Scottsbluff as the group arrived at the Elks Lodge for lunch and a break before continuing on to Denver.
Although the trips have been arranged by a Chadron group that was incorporated a few years ago as the non-profit Veterans Memorial Flight, veterans from across the Panhandle have always been encouraged to take part.
This group has veterans from 6 different towns. Four are from Chadron: Navy veteran Dale Engelhaupt, Lyle McKinnon of the National Guard, and former Army members Joseph Pace and Phillip Lockwood.
Another four are from Alliance. Delphie Montanez and Robert Dickenson served in the Army, Dennis Clark the Air Force, and Michael Hulquist the Navy.
Also from the Northern Panhandle are Buzz Tollman of Marsland and Louis Carlson of Hay Springs, both Army veterans.
Two veterans from Scottsbluff – Frank Kenzy of the Marines and Galen Seip of the Navy – and 2 from Gering, the Army’s Curtis Ernst and Ronald Rahmig of the Navy – joined the caravan in Scottsbluff.
Each veteran is accompanied by a companion called a Guardian, and neither the veterans or Guardians pay anything for the trip, thanks to donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals.
Donation ceremonies were held yesterday for gifts from the American Legions in Rushville and Scottsbluff.